In one week we will be sitting down at a table with family and friends to enjoy the best meal of the year. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I get to hear what my family is thankful for! I’m always surprised by the answers. It varies from my little brother’s love of money to how grateful we are for our dogs– they eat well too on Thanksgiving. No one ever seems to say how grateful they are though for the food on the table. I think it is weird that our culture sees food as a given because we see food this way, we only verbalize our gratitude to the extras in life– our wants not our needs.
Many people though, over 1 million just in Tennessee, will be hungry this Thanksgiving. That number shocked me. 1 million plus people are starving in our state. Feeding America has a state specified map to show hunger across the country. I encourage you can look at its statistics even if you are from the volunteer state. The hope I do see in this shocking number is that we are the volunteer state. We are a community. We are a body of people who not only see the importance of giving, but find it enjoyable. We are volunteers.
The best nonprofit organization found in Middle Tennessee that provides food for the 1 million plus people is the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. “Second Harvest… distributed more than 29 million pounds of food during our 2014/2015 fiscal year, which included over 6.5 million pounds of fresh produce. Second Harvest receives food donations from local grocers, manufacturers, local growers and farmers, and food drives.” Amazing. When people work together we can make a change. However, to start making a change it takes one person. That person this week can be you.
The first way Second Harvest encourages us to make a change is to donate money. Anything will help. If you are slammed on time and feel called to help this organization this is probably your best option. You can donate by clicking this link.
The second way is to give your time. I love going up to Second Harvest to sort food. It is so much fun when you go with your friends. It is really enjoyable to watch the rhythm of the group come alive. At first, everyone is bumping into each other and knocking over cans, but by the end you’re tossing cans back and forth to each other with no problem. Even if you do not go with friends it is awesome to make friends there and create that same rhythm with a group of people you do not know.
The third way is to have a food drive. Many times you can find items needed in your pantry or for very little money at the grocery store. Second Harvest “will supply you with a food drive tool kit containing best practices for hosting a successful food drive. They will also provide posters and collection boxes. Simply fill out the food drive registration form and they will contact you to help you get started.”
The items most needed at Second Harvest are
- Peanut Butter
- Canned Meat (chicken or tuna)
- Canned Vegetables
- Canned fruit
You can also start a virtual food drive. I had never heard of this until I started digging into this nonprofit. You can grocery shop online in the comfort of your home on your couch to make a change. You don’t have to go very far to share the joy of Thanksgiving with someone this year.